At the end of last week, the weather turned rather chilly and my coat came out again after a long, warm summer. My daughters started to complain it was cold without the central heating on (while sitting at home wearing only T-shirts) and I noticed that the nights are drawing in.
Autumn is really here and I know this, as it’s my birthday today and Mr Thrift and I usually spend a couple of hours walking in the park. Unfortunately today, it’s been wet and miserable so we didn’t go. There are such beautiful views to be found at this time of year, when the leaves turn a wonderful array of autumn colours and then begin to fall to the ground, we will definately go another day instead, when it is dry.
I didn’t have a cake today due to the building work, but I thought I would remember the cake my girls made for me last year which tasted lovely:
Unfortunately, at this time of year the shops start to turn their attentions to…dare I say it?….Christmas.
Every high street shop you visit has the beginnings of their Christmas displays, enticing you to spend, spend, spend. They give the impression that the ‘more you spend, the more you love your family’.
There are also strategically placed images of smiling friends in big woolly jumpers, exchanging gifts in front of an open fire with glasses of mulled wine in their hands. It’s lovely to be with friends at Christmas and the image reminds me that I also need to buy them expensive presents? After all, if I don’t they just won’t socialise with me anymore and they will gossip behind my back.
Is this true?…….NO! This is just what the shops want us to believe so they sell more and make a bigger profit, it’s as simple as that.
It’s not just the shops that put pressure on us to spend more money near to Christmas. Listening to other people talking about what presents they are buying, where they are going, what they are even cooking on Christmas day, makes you feel like rushing out and buying the same. It’s very easy to feel inadequate at this time of year as the biggest problem with Christmas is people get caught up in the social expectations of the whole thing. It is too easy to purchase everything on your credit card and then have a miserable new year when your bill arrives.
This is why I plan for Christmas throughout the year and when everyone is rushing about feeling stressed, I am enjoying the festivities.
How I do My Christmas Shopping:
We have a Christmas present budget and we stick to it. We save the money for Christmas presents the year before we need to buy them. This way, we know exactly what our Christmas budget is, when we plan our present list on the 1st January each year.
I have a list of names that I carry in my handbag, which I update each time I buy a present. I know exactly how much money I have to spend on each person and who I have or have not already bought for. This way I can buy presents in the January and summer sales and get more for my money, or buy a special gift that I know will be loved, when I see it.
Some people may think this is excessive and feel that they couldn’t do this, but it works for us. We have two large families and this year alone, we have 36 family members and close friends to buy for. A few years ago it was more than this, but we decided to stop buying for children when they reached 18 years old, as it was costing far too much money. We felt terrible at first telling our friends and relatives this and yes, we did get one or two people that didn’t understand, but I think that said more about them than us.
If you aren’t as organised as me, you can still write at list and work out a budget, after all, there is still October, November and December to save towards it and next year you could budget from January so you can spread the cost over twelve months.
I love Christmas as it a great time to ‘catch up’ with friends and spend time together as a family. It’s about having family traditions that are special, as they only happen once a year.
Our decorations are also special. Even though they come out year after year, they have so many memories attached to them. I also love beautiful decorations that have been made, by spending next to nothing using materials from the garden.
I love to see my family enjoying a Christmas dinner, knowing that everything has been cooked from scratch and all the vegetables have been home grown.
It’s the simple things that make Christmas special to me, not how expensive a present is.
So if you are worrying about the cost of Christmas 2013, please remember the time you spend together with family and friends is far more important than the amount of money you pay for their present.
Presents are used or tossed aside within a few months, but memories of times spent together will last forever.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back on Friday.